Denton's Notebook: Monday, Nov. 19

By John Denton
November 19, 2012

ATLANTA – NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, the man tabbed with succeeding David Stern in 14 months, said on Monday that while measures have been put in place to help teams retain their star players, it’s still ``an unfortunate circumstance and I don’t want to sugarcoat it’’ regarding the Orlando Magic and superstar center Dwight Howard.

Howard, a member of the Magic for eight seasons from 2004-12, forced his way out of Orlando last summer and ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers following an August trade. Silver lauded the Magic for ``making the best of the situation,’’ but he said there was little that the league could do to help smaller-market franchises retain star players looking for opportunities in bigger cities.

``It’s an unfortunate circumstance and I don’t want to sugarcoat it,’’ said Silver, who was in Atlanta Monday night for the Magic-Hawks game. ``It’s been that way since the beginning of time and certainly since the beginning of this league. In this league in particular, superstar players have enormous leverage. We’ve talked in Collective Bargaining negotiations about how we can put teams in optimal positions where that doesn’t happen by giving teams the opportunity to offer longer-term contracts at greater amounts of money per year. But ultimately players do have the right to become free agents and to move.

``Dwight did have several good years in Orlando and (the Magic) played at the highest level in The Finals, and this is not the way we like to see it happen,’’ Silver continued. ``At this point, the Magic are making the best of the situation and are in rebuilding mode. That’s something that teams around the league have to face.’’

Silver said the Magic have a history of being able to attract top-level players and he thinks the franchise will recover from the loss of Howard in time because of its solid rebuilding plan in place. As for Howard, silver said there’s no certainty that the superstar center will remain with the Lakers for the long term.

``The next chapter is yet to be written from Dwight’s standpoint and how things will ultimately work out in L.A. Will he stay in L.A.? He’s a young man who is making certain decisions about his career as well,’’ Silver said. ``The one thing about sports is that you never know what is going to happen. We’ll see how things are going to work out for Dwight as a player and for the Magic. That’s why we keep watching.’’

LONG, STRANGE TRIP: J.J. Redick considers himself something of a renaissance man, and when traveling with the Orlando Magic on roadtrips he likes to ventures off and see exotic sections of NBA cites.

Usually, one of Redick’s favorite stops along the NBA circuit is Toronto because of the eclectic mix of culture and foreign flair that the Canadian city offers.

Redick won’t soon forget this past weekend’s trip to Toronto – but not in a good way. Redick awoke Saturday morning to intense stomach pains and what followed was a day-and-a-half of violent illness. Redick was unable to play in the Magic’s loss to the Raptors on Sunday afternoon and he stayed behind at the team hotel. And that’s where Redick’s troublesome stay in Toronto got even more bizarre.

Because of a Santa Claus parade that attracted nearly 200,000 people to downtown Toronto, Redick got stranded in traffic en route to meet the team at the arena after the game. What should have been a 20-minute cab ride turned into a 90-minute affair – and it ended with Redick walking to the arena and wondering about the result of the game.

``I had to leave at the beginning of the fourth quarter, so I didn’t get to see the finish. And then with the parade, it took me an hour-and-a-half to get to the bus,’’ Redick said. ``I actually walked the last eight blocks. No, I didn’t enjoy my trip to Toronto.’’

Redick said that he lost 5 pounds because of the illness and went almost 24 hours without eating solid foods. The sickness reminded him of two years ago when the NORA virus zapped him for six days and caused him to lose substantial weight. He said he purposely stayed away from teammates in order to not spread whatever he contracted.

``I haven’t slapped too many high fives in the last day,’’ Redick joked. ``I don’t think I’m contagious, but I don’t know. (The illness) is one of the weirder things and I don’t think I had food poisoning. … When I ordered my breakfast (Saturday morning) it hit me and within the next couple of hours I had lost 5 pounds. It was a quick thing and I don’t know what it was.’’

HOMECOMING FOR DEQUAN: After Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn played in New York last week and Andrew Nicholson played in Toronto on Sunday, DeQuan Jones became the last Magic rookie to play in his hometown on Monday in Atlanta.

For Jones, the opportunity to return home as a starting small forward in the NBA was the final piece to a journey that started with him being not selected on draft night, but working his way onto the Magic roster.

``It’s a great experience and I’m so looking forward to playing in front of my family and friends,’’ Jones said. ``I’m just embracing it and enjoying it. I remember coming here to this arena as a kid when Michael Jordan played here with the Bulls. And now, I’m playing in this arena, so it’s fun.’’

Jones, who went to high school in Atlanta and college at the University of Miami, said there are still times when it dawns on him how far he’s come in such a short period of time. He was invited to training camp with no guarantees at all, but made the team with his hustle and willingness to do the dirty work.

``I think at this point it’s all sunk in and now I’m trying to make up my mind about where I want to make my niche in the NBA,’’ Jones said. ``Now, it’s just a matter of getting better, producing what the team needs and doing whatever the coach asks of me.’’

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.



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